Thunder sounded in the heavens but I didn’t stop running, I was breathless. I didn’t care that my white dress was soiled or my makeup smudged, I didn’t care that my feet had lost their shoes. ‘I did the right thing’, I thought to myself. ‘Did I?’ I thought again. I had left without an explanation but how could I explain to the sixty or more guests at the church what I had heard in secret?
The sun had hidden itself behind the clouds and the thunder boomed again, but I kept running. Where was I headed? I had no idea. The memory of the morning’s events unconsciously came rushing through my mind and all attempts to hinder it from rearing its ugly head proved futile.
I had woken up at five a.m., brushed my teeth, had a proper bath and after getting my make-up done, I had put on my beautiful custom-made wedding dress which was designed by yours truly. I am a good tailor and I love to pride myself in my creations. I had worked tirelessly to see my wedding dress attain its perfection. When I began working on my wedding dress, I had no time for customers, I refused to accept clothing materials and in fact stopped taking orders. I had no other priority but my wedding dress which I was certain would make headlines! I had it all rehearsed in my head, from the moment I walked down the aisle clinging onto my father’s arm to the moment I was pronounced a married woman and I was pretty sure that it would be surreal.
Till I was just ten minutes away from saying ‘I do’ and a shocking reality hit me squarely in the face.
It all happened at the church, before I walked down the aisle. I had arrived thirty minutes earlier with my maid of honour and suddenly I felt like using the toilet. It must have been a case of nerves because I had not drunk any water all day for fear of having to use the toilet often. I quickly asked one of the ushers for a place to freshen up and he directed me to a small room at the side entrance of the church which had a toilet facility within. I quickly thanked him and went in. Using the toilet was no hassle as my dress was quite easy to handle, I had purposely made a dress that would give me the freedom to even do a number two, toilet-wise, so I wasn’t in the least flustered. As I sat on the toilet seat, I imagined my Tunde, looking all dapper in his navy blue suit and a smile played across my lips, I also remembered the naughty little present I had packed up in my box for tonight and I blushed.
I had just flushed and was about to leave the toilet when I heard the door to the room open and soon I heard footsteps. Suddenly a voice floated in and I smiled in recognition. It was Tunde’s brother Ladi, as I made to open the door, I heard another voice, it was that of Tunde’s other brother, Dani. They were chatting about the weather and I was thinking of how to jump out of the toilet, screaming ‘boo’. A mischievous smile spread across my face when I thought of how surprised they’ll be to see me emerge from the toilet. I had my palm on the door knob when I heard Dani say;
“I am worried about Tunde. Can he go through with this?”
I was curious, what was my fiancé hiding from me? Can he go through with what? I thought.
“I really can’t tell…he’s nervous…he’s literally shaking…I have never seen Tunde this unnerved in my entire life.” Ladi was saying.
“Nnamdi sent him a text message saying, he wouldn’t share.” Dani said.
“Wow! That’s intense! Didn’t Tunde explain the situation to him? That he has to get married in order to make our parents happy? I really wish he could come out of the closet…if he had done that earlier, this wouldn’t be happening.”
“What? Come out of where? To our parents? Do you want them dead before their time? We should be thankful that Lola agreed to marry him. Thank God that she doesn’t suspect anything.” Ladi said in relief.
“Wait…does it mean that they have not….” Dani asked.
“No! They agreed that it’s till their wedding night…” Ladi said quickly. “I wish things weren’t this complicated….”
“I also wish that he could have told her mehn! It would make life easier for the poor girl but now, she’s getting into marriage with a man who’s… well… you know what. And he will never really satisfy her or be an ideal husband to her. I don’t think either of them will be happy.” Ladi said regretfully.
“Well…he’s our brother and we have to respect his wishes for keeping this a secret from his wife-to-be. Maybe when they are married, she’ll handle his truth better. Come to think of it, if she knows now, soon everyone will know because there’s a ninety-nine percent chance that she wouldn’t go through with the wedding but when she’s his wife, she’ll keep the truth to herself for the sake of her new family.”
“I guess so…” Dani said and paused. “Ah well. We need to get back into the church. Only a few minutes left. We need to help Tunde sort himself through this.”
“Has the Lola arrived?” Ladi asked.
“I saw her car drive in but I haven’t seen her, I’m sure she’s somewhere waiting for the ceremony to begin.” Dani started.
“Hmm….poor girl, if only she knew what she is getting into….Tunde doesn’t love her… his heart is with no one else but Nnamdi….” Ladi said.
“Wetin we fit do? It’s his choice to make. Let’s get back to business and by that I mean, church!” Dani said quickly.
I heard them walk to the door and soon it slammed shut, I weakly pushed the door of the toilet open and walked out with wobbly legs.
“Let’s not rush it…we have all the time in the world…” He had said to me two weeks ago when I had tried to seduce him.
“But come on Tunde… we’re getting married soon…we’re not doing anything wrong…” I had replied, laughing naughtily.
We’d both had too much to drink at the club and since it was late, I had insisted on spending the night at his place.
I touched my face to see if tears had ruined my makeup but to my surprise it was dry. I clutched my chest but couldn’t feel my heartbeat, it was as though my heart had been wrenched from its depths.
The door opened and Shalewa, my best friend and maid of honour, peeped in.
“There you are! It’s time. Let’s go.” She said excitedly.
I nodded and plastered a plastic smile on my face, letting her lead the way. As soon as I stepped out, my bridesmaids hurried to meet me, we had all agreed to meet up at the church.
“You look beautiful Lola! Exquisite…” Nneoma said as she rushed up to hug me.
“This is…the most beautiful wedding dress I have ever seen!” Fatima exclaimed as she admired my wedding gown.
“Tunde is a lucky guy…” Christabel said.
As they chatted, I stared blindly ahead, thinking, pondering and wondering if this had been revealed to me for a purpose. Tunde is gay! He is marrying me to please his parents, to fool society and to kick under the rug, his truth.
My father hurried up to me and took my hand in his. As we walked down the aisle, his face beamed in smiles and I saw a proud father whose joy at that moment knew no bounds. My mom wiped the tears of joy off her face with a handkerchief as she stood ahead of us, taking pictures with her tablet. Family, friends, well-wishers gathered, waiting for the joining of man and woman. Tunde stood at the altar with a stiff smile on his lips and a faraway look in his eyes.
The pastor spoke, as my father placed my hand into my future husband’s;
“Therefore shall a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and they shall become one flesh. Genesis chapter two, verse twenty-four.”
At that point I didn’t know what seized me, I didn’t wait for my dad to return to his seat or for my mom to stop taking pictures. I turned and fled, running as I have never run before, out of the church, out of the sham of a wedding, out of the arms of my false prince.
Now, still running and causing stares on the road, I can’t stop my race and I have no idea where I am headed. Lightning flashes and thunder strikes a third time and then, the rain finally begins to fall.
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